LAS VEGAS, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Eggs, garlic, peanuts and tree nuts are just a few of the 23 life-threatening food allergies that plague Asher Waff. But soon, the bright-eyed 3-year-old from Radford, Virginia, will have conquered them all. Asher and his parents leave this Sunday, May 10, on their seventh Miracle Flight to the cutting-edge medical treatment that's curing him. As Sunday also begins National Food Allergy Awareness Week, the Waffs are sharing their story to help other families find hope, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Waffs' battle began when baby Asher started solid foods—and a pea-sized taste of peanut butter brought on an immediate allergic reaction. Then a simple dinner turned nearly fatal when garlic bread threw Asher into anaphylactic shock. Soon came another blow: Asher was diagnosed with asthma, increasing his risk of fatal anaphylaxis from a food allergy by 50 percent.
"We would lose sleep at night worrying about Asher's future. How would he ever go to preschool or kindergarten? How could he possibly go to college and live in a dorm?" says Rachel. "An allergist that offered treatment for all of Asher's allergies seemed nonexistent."
Hope came when the family discovered the Tolerance Induction Program at the Southern California Food Allergy Institute, which offered a treatment that could send all of Asher's allergies into remission within 14 to 16 months. The only problem: the exorbitant cost to reach the medical facility – 2,000 miles away – every five to eight weeks. On top of medical bills, lodging, rental cars and time off from work, the cost of airfare added a tremendous financial burden to the family.
"Travel alone could have cost us at least $20,000—but not going wasn't an option," says Rachel. "We would have taken out a second mortgage. We would have made it happen."
Fortunately they didn't have to. Through the Institute's parent support group, the Waffs heard about Miracle Flights, the national nonprofit that provides free plane tickets to children and adults who need access to medical care not available in their local communities. The charity provides commercial flights to medical facilities throughout the U.S., as many times as necessary for patients and their parents or caregivers.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Miracle Flights has continued to work with commercial airlines to ensure patients can reach the specialized, distant medical care they need.
"With the support of their doctors, many of our families are making the difficult decision to fly right now, because the risk of not flying—and not getting that specialized care—is too great," says Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. "For patients like Asher, whose treatment is progressive, a delay in care could cause a medical setback."
Asher took his first Miracle Flight to treatment in February 2019 and has now overcome half of his food allergies. The family hopes he'll tackle the rest in three more visits.
To help Asher and other children continue their journey to life-changing medical care, or to request a Miracle Flight for your family, visit miracleflights.org.
About Miracle Flights
Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free medical air transportation to children and adults via commercial airlines throughout the United States. The organization, founded in 1985, has provided 129,438 flights and books more than 600 flights per month. To request a flight, learn more or donate, call 800-359-1711 or visit miracleflights.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
Press Contact: Erika Koff: (702) 261-0494 or [email protected]
SOURCE Miracle Flights